Alpine Property Market Report April 2024

Winter Season

It’s April, at the end of the winter season 23/24, it is snowing outside and the forecast for the next few weeks is for the temperature to remain in single figures. In fact last night was the coldest April night ever recorded in some parts of France. What a contrast to this past winter season! It will be remembered as warmer and wetter than the historical average. For much of the season the snow depths above 1500m were normal. So at Avoriaz/Flaine the conditions were generally very good. And on the ski areas around Chamonix they had more snow than usual. This contrasted with difficult conditions when skiing back into the villages. The people that run businesses in this area worry about the weather in the same way a farmer does. We worry that people on holiday will be disappointed, we have quizzed many people and I know others did too, and the face to face feedback has been universally good. That contrasts with a small number of people trolling on social media, but then, I guess that is what you get on social media isn’t it?

We asked a number of people looking in the area, why they are buying, are they not worried about “climate change”. The response is always the same, guaranteed skiing is not the main driver for a purchase. There are so many ways to enjoy these mountains. 

I am discussing the conditions, because they always influence the interest we observe for second homes. Overall, this season mirrored the preceding one of 22/23, rendering it average—akin to pre-pandemic years. This equilibrium extended to both buyers and sellers.

Mortgages and affordability

Last year, the market experienced a cooling off due to mortgage accessibility challenges. Fortunately, this hurdle has since eased, with rates now dipping below 4% for select buyers. For those relocating from abroad, mortgage options exist to safeguard against potential rate drops, such as variable/tracker mortgages or those without redemption penalties. Exploring such products may necessitate consulting a broker rather than relying solely on high street banks.

Saying that, the property market in the ski areas has been supported by people that don’t really need a mortgage to buy the property they want. The buyers around here are investing their money in property which is a safe “asset”, the downside for people that live in the area is that the affordability of property ends up out of reach. This is in contrast to the rest of France where most people will require a mortgage for their homes, this difficulty in obtaining a mortgage has meant prices in much of the rest of France are reducing, in time this should make affordability easier. In general over the last year, prices across France are down 10%. Sales are down 30% which is a big issue if you are an estate agent. Plenty are closing down. PACA (the area around Nice) has bucked that trend, as we have in the Haute Savoie.

I’ve had a look at the price trends across the ski areas we cover. We now have access to ALL the sales data across France and to real time data for what is for sale.In general over the last 2 years we have seen price rises of up to 30%, with an average of 18%. 

* I don’t think we have enough data to trust these

** Same for Les Carroz, thanks to a problem with Insee and the Code Postal in that area

Our Commitment to 1% for the Planet

In previous market reports, I’ve emphasised our profound appreciation for our mountain environment, our commitment to sustainable transportation, and our cautious stance on unrestrained growth. Despite often feeling powerless to enact change and pointing fingers at local and central governments, we’ve taken tangible action in recent years. We’ve aligned our actions with our values by joining 1% for the Planet, allocating 1% of our turnover (not just profit) to local accredited environmental organisations. Even during lean times, we will uphold this commitment. In the past 18 months alone, we’ve contributed over €40,000 to these causes. Notably, Montagne Verte, a group based in the Portes du Soleil, has been a primary beneficiary, spearheading initiatives to mitigate our local environmental impact. I strongly encourage you to learn more about their work. Additionally, we proudly support Association un Rêve d’Abeilles, which educates schools and youth organisations on the vital role of pollinators, alongside Ecotrivelo and Inspire, both based in Chamonix. You can read more about all these initiatives here

St Jean d’Aulps is featured in one of the fastest growing categories in my analysis. The video below shows you why.

The Chamonix valley has shown strong and sustained growth over the last couple of years. Take a look at this property in Vallorcine.

Previous reports:

November 2023

June 2023

1% for the Planet

Total donated by Alpine Property so far 41 940€

We give 1% of our turnover to local groups dedicated to supporting our local environment . That’s 1% of everything, not just profit. We pay this out even if we make a loss. So if you work with us, 1% of the commission we charge you goes to supporting local environmental organisations.

These donations are audited by the French 1% for the Planet organisation. We started this in 2022, our first year has just been audited.

Donations in 2022

Montagne Verte12 100
Association un Rêve d’Abeilles7 600
Ecotrivelo3 100
1% for the planet1 200
Total24 640

First tranche of donations 2023, there is more to come

Montagne Verte8 500
Association un Rêve d’Abeilles5 400
Ecotrivelo2 200
1% for the planet1 200
Total17 300

So far we have supported 5 organisations.

Montagne Verte

Montagne Verte is a non-profit association funded by the community that serves with a simple mission; develop solutions for the local region to reduce its environmental impact. They envision a valley in which mountains, people and biodiversity thrive. A united community building a carbon neutral, sustainable future for all. They aim to inform, inspire, encourage and integrate with the community ; educate and support businesses to become more sustainable. The mountain is our playground, our home and our reason for living, they help people act to respect and preserve it.

More information about their work is here

Working with local mayors to encourage eco policies for the future, including organising an educational trip to Zermatt

  • Running a local second hand shop
  • Looking into improving cycling infrastructure
  • Running the bio-waste collection scheme
  • Lobbying for improved train connections to the Alps
  • Helping local businesses & residents to reduce their carbon footprint
  • Encouraging local businesses to give discounts to people that arrive by train through the AlpinExpress pass
  • Organising weekly food boxes using local producers

Association un Rêve d’Abeilles

Un Rêve d’Abeilles is dedicated to protecting pollinators (not just bees!). They run educational initiatives with schools, youth organisations (MJC’s), and other non-profits (associations). Through their projects, they create new habitats for bees while simultaneously raising awareness among these diverse audiences.

Their efforts involve organising intergenerational events that cater to people from various backgrounds, providing opportunities for bees to thrive in new environments. Additionally, they establish individual apiaries (bee hotels) as sanctuaries for domestic bees, allowing visitors to connect with both domestic and wild bee species. These locations serve not only as educational spaces featuring alternative hives and wild bee hotels but also as awareness-raising hubs with informative panels on everyday practices to support all pollinators.

Furthermore, their actions extend to the re-naturalisation of specific areas, fostering conditions to allow wild pollinators to flourish. This includes initiatives to relocate nests of wasps, bumblebees, and bees, contributing to the overall health and vitality of pollinator populations.

2023 report available here 


Ecotrivelo is an association that collects biowaste from various businesses in the Chamonix valley, including restaurants, hotels, bars, and canteens. The collected waste is composted locally, they have minimised their environmental impact through bicycle-powered collections. Since 2020, Ecotrivelo has successfully collected and processed 153 tons of biowaste.

Upon collection, the organic materials are stored in wooden composters within the valley. To enhance the composting process, dry matter sourced from local companies, such as Scierie Revilliod and atelier Rabbit on the Roof, is incorporated. Maintaining a careful balance between dry matter and organic matter (50/50 ratio) is crucial. The composters undergo regular mixing and monitoring several times a week to ensure optimal conditions.

Upon reaching full capacity, the composters are emptied to create windrows or mounds (known as “andains” or “buttes” in French), allowing the compost to rest. After a period of six months, the windrows are turned to facilitate aeration. This meticulous daily management ensures the compost’s high quality and balanced composition.

More information on their website


Established in 1996, Inspire is an association dedicated to improving air quality in the Mont-Blanc region and advocating for the protection of the environment, health, and climate. They consistently implement actions to ensure that the concerns voiced by local citizens are acknowledged by the authorities. In addition to these efforts, they actively engage in extensive public awareness campaigns and contribute to the development of proposals presented to elected officials and decision-makers. Their commitment extends to fostering a sustainable and healthier environment for the community.

In 2023, Inspire made proposals for the transfer of goods by train to elected officials, decision-makers and economic players, in the local and national media. They appeared on the following media channels:

  • Un dimanche en politique/ France 3 Alpes
  • La Terre au Carré / France Info
  • Radio Mont- Blanc
  • Le Messenger

Also they monitored the evolution of the negotiations of the new European Directive on air quality. And worked to monitor the application of the Arve Valley Atmosphere Protection Plan, PPA CL’AIR (Application du Plan de Protection de l’Atmosphère) and presented the progress to local associations.

In addition Inspire have organised:

  • Workshops on eco-mobility for school students from Passy and Cluses.
  • A conference on the automobile eco-guide in Fillinges.
  • A presentation of the new bus network in Chamonix.

More information here –

1% for the Planet Organisation

1% for the Planet” is a global movement that encourages businesses and individuals to contribute at least 1% of their annual sales or income to environmental causes. The initiative was founded in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

Companies that join the “1% for the Planet” commit to donating 1% of their annual revenue to approved environmental nonprofit organisations. The goal is to encourage businesses to take responsibility for their environmental impact and contribute to the protection and preservation of the planet. The funds raised through this initiative go toward various environmental projects, including conservation efforts, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity protection.

As you can see, we give an annual “subscription” of 1,200€, we would like to avoid giving money to fund “administration”. The 1% for the Planet France annual report fully details in 23 pages what they do for this and is available here.

Put simply:

  • 1% for the planet France oversees 10m € of donations to environmental projects etc
  • Their turnover is 2,25 m, about 700 000 € of that comes from subscriptions like ours.
  • 79% of the money they receive is distributed to environmental projects.
  • 17% goes on running their organisation.
  • That is 4% on running costs when you take into account the 10m€ they audit in total.
  • There are 1 000 companies in France doing as we do.
  • Worldwide there are over 5 000; outside of the US, France is the second largest member.

Since it was founded in 2002, 1% for the Planet has given over $585m to environmental organisations.

Alpine Property Market Report November 2023

As I always do, I have reread the summer update to see how things have changed. Back in the spring of this year, we definitely felt there might be a “wobble” in the property market. Winter 2022/23 started off with the energy crisis, thanks to the war in Ukraine. Then we had the further issue of a lack of mortgages due to quickly rising interest rates (remember Kwasi’s kamikaze budget?). This was then followed up with very little snow at Christmas. Altogether, it felt a bit like a perfect storm.

In January, the snow came, and we had a long period of cold, stable weather. The energy issues stabilised and mortgages reappeared slowly. There was indeed a stutter, but it did not last long. Summer started, and it was mostly a scorcher. Thanks to the efforts of our local Tourist Office’s we had lots of big-name events. So often the fortunes of the property market here are tied to the weather, much like the fortunes of the holiday industry in general. Sometimes I think this is what it must feel like to be a farmer.

The summer was busy again, but still with two underlying issues: the difficulty of obtaining a mortgage and a general lack of available properties. I have looked at our numbers for the last few months. The number of people looking was slightly higher in the “Covid years” of 20/21, today’s numbers are up from last year (2022), and up from the pre-COVID year of 2019. HOWEVER, the number of properties available is down compared to all those years, so there is pressure that is keeping the prices up. The number of sales is down compared to these last few years due to a lack of “stock.” If you are selling, don’t be tempted to overprice your property, because if you do, it will linger on the market. And if you are looking, secure financing first if you need it, and don’t be surprised if you have to offer at the asking price.

Political pressures are building in our ski areas due to two issues. One is environmental. Continual growth just feels wrong when we are trying to preserve our planet for future generations, and the other is available and affordable housing for residents. People see the new developments going up in the center of our towns and rail against the local council to do something about it. Unfortunately, local councils are mostly overruled by national planning guidelines. Change is slow, but it is happening.

You may have heard talk of higher taxation on second homes. This is part of the slow change mentioned above. Despite what some UK papers will tell you, this is not something aimed at the British. It’s a blanket change that affects everyone. Second homes and vacant premises will be subject to higher taxes, and the money raised will help build affordable housing. All in all, a good thing in our book.

Other changes that are slowly having an effect are our energy performance certificates (DPEs). They have been around for more than 15 years now, and their importance is starting to have an impact. Eventually, the French government is aiming to have all dwellings as a D or better. From this year, properties with an F or G certificate are considered a “fail” and further costly surveys are required before a property can be advertised for sale. This is to educate a buyer about the work required to improve the energy efficiency of the property. Properties in this failed category are known as “passoires thermiques” or thermal sieves. If they are rated G, then they can’t be let out long-term from 2025; this regulation will eventually affect E and F properties as well.

Seasons seem to be extending, this is another slow change, but bit by bit, the local amenities are staying open a touch longer. Not that many years ago, the summer season was very much limited to July and August, but in areas like the Portes du Soleil it now feels more like June through September. Chamonix has always had longer seasons, nowadays there is almost no down time.. Add to this that more people are enjoying our mountains “out of season,” such as in Spring and Autumn, something the people that live here have always appreciated. We’ve just had family to stay during the November holidays, and there has been plenty to do during some pretty inclement weather. Mountain walks between the rain, the ice rink, and swimming pool have been open, and the new “luge d’été” in Les Gets too. Beyond that, a showstopper of a trip up the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix was a real hit and should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Chalune from Foron, November 2023
Chalune from Foron, November 2023

Questions and answers September 2023

We took part in a Webinar hosted by Lumon (currency specialists), we answered 22 questions about buying a property in the French Alps, these questions had been put forward by our audience.

The panel members were:

Gareth Jefferies – French Property Expert at Alpine Property
Fiona Watts – Finance specialist at IPF
Dennelle Taylor Nizoux – Visa specialist at Renestance
Jonathan Watson – Currency Specialist at LUMON

The full video is available on the video posted below. However you can jump to a relevant question by clicking on the time-stamps below.

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 07:29 Looking for a property at altitude, do you have any advice?
  • 10:13 How easy is it to obtain a mortgage in France when self-employed?
  • 11:59 How do I obtain a long term visa for France, without becoming tax resident?
  • 15:08 What costs are added to the purchase price when buying in France?
  • 16:20 Why should I use a currency broker over the high street banks?
  • 19:19 Does a residency permit allow access to the EU schengen area over the current 90 and 180-day restrictions?
  • 20:34 Can UK Nationals obtain French mortgages?
  • 21:11 Can the French government help subsidise making your home more efficient?
  • 24:31 Does buying a French property through a company change the financing arrangements?
  • 26:21 Does France have a digital nomad visa?
  • 28:16 Do I need to engage an architect for a barn renovation in France?
  • 30:32 Can I get insurance that covers natural disasters when buying a property in the alps?
  • 33:47 How is affordability for a mortgage calculated in France? How much deposit will I need?
  • 36:42 How does a currency broker know the best time for clients to transfer their money?
  • 40:06 When Fiona says finance costs should not be more than ⅓ of income, is this before or after tax?
  • 41:02 Can you tell us where the new “up and coming” place is to invest in the Alps?
  • 43:04 It is being reported in the UK that France is going to tax British second home owners. Can you tell us about this please?
  • 46:05 If I have an Irish passport, can my husband and children (who do not) stay longer than 3 months?
  • 47:21 Do purchase chains exist in France?
  • 52:15 Can you give us an overview of the taxes involved when buying an investment property?
  • 54:57 What is your view about global warming and less snow in the winter?
  • 58:42 Do I need a visa if I am joining my family in France?

Tax on second homes in France

The government in France is trying to rebalance the housing situation in favour of primary residences and renters. This is raising many questions. The press in the UK is often reporting this as a tax on British second home owners, however these taxes concern everyone, the French included.


  • Taxe d’Habitation has been abolished for primary homes, taxe d’habitation is payable only on furnished properties that are not primary homes, this mainly concerns second homes that are not rented out.
  • Owners of furnished rentals should declare the rental income in France (wherever they live), this means they may well be registered as a small business. In this case cotisation foncière des entreprises (CFE) is payable and the owner is exonerated from Taxe d’Habitation.
  • If a property is rented out AND used occasionally by the owner, then both Taxe d’Habitation and CFE is payable
  • All properties are liable for Taxe Fonciere (land tax), these are broadly related to the rental value of the property.
  • Unfurnished, vacant properties are covered by Taxes sur les logements vacants (TLV), this is payable on vacant unfurnished properties. This does not concern many properties in the French Alps!

Communes in certain areas of housing stress (all the communes we cover in the Haute Savoie) can increase the tax d’habitation on second homes from between 5 and 60%, I have already seen that some of the communes around here have made their announcements.

Cluses have increased theirs by 30%

The money raised should go to providing low cost housing for residents.

More information on the TLV here

Taxe fonciere is increasing too, this affects everyone, French, foreign, main homes, second homes. I have listed some of our local villages here, you can find yours in this article

Chatel 33%
Grand Bornand 32%
Chamonix 28%
Les Gets 25%
Morzine 26%
Montriond 19%
St Jean d’Aulps 24%

What do you need to know about Les Gets?

Altitude 1150m
Population 1200
Distance to Geneva airport: 1h10
Nearest Train: Cluses (30min)
Skiing: Portes du Soleil – 600km !

All the properties we have for sale in Les Gets

Our online valuation tool for Les Gets

Les Gets gets its name from an old French word that describes the channels cut through the forests. These are used to drag the wood down the mountain after it has been cut. But like so many alpine towns the people don’t survive on agriculture now. However they do still make their living off the natural resources of the land. Namely skiing, mountain biking and the wonderful views.

Les Gets is the quintessential alpine village, made up of lots of individual chalets nestled amongst the trees and pistes. When we are asked by photographers where to go for the classic shots of skiers passing by snow covered chalets we send them to Les Gets. The Chavannes side of the village has everything they need.

The altitude of Les Gets is slightly greater than its neighbour Morzine which means that options for skiing back to the village are more varied. This makes the village feel slightly snowier too.

The skiing in Les Gets is shared with Morzine which in turn is connected to Avoriaz and the rest of the Portes du Soleil. This gives access to over 12 connected ski areas and 600 km of skiing, one of the largest ski areas in the world. In the winter apart from the downhill skiing there is even a fair amount of free cross-country skiing, and if this is not enough there are even more cross country ski options 20 minutes away in Praz des Lys.

Our showcase video of Les Gets

As is the case with most of the areas that Alpine Property covers, it’s not just about the winter. Les Gets has a very active summer season. The Tour de France passes through the village frequently and amongst the mountain biking community it is well known for the various World Cup and World Championship events held in the village. In the summer there is a family focus around the swimming at the lac des ecoles. On the other side of the valley the ski lifts stay open on Mont Chery giving some of the best views of Mont Blanc in the Haute Savoie.

Getting there

Like much of the Haute Savoie, access has been another key to the success of Les Gets. The motorway and railway station are only 30 minutes away in Cluses and and Geneva airport just over 1 hr by road.

In conclusion Les Gets beckons adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike with its captivating beauty and diverse range of activities throughout the year. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to conquer the slopes or a nature enthusiast seeking tranquillity amidst stunning alpine landscapes, Les Gets offers an idyllic escape. Embrace the thrill of winter sports or immerse yourself in the charm of summer activities – Les Gets is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences in every season.

Associations and sport

Buy your winter or summer ski pass online

Les Gets Ski Club (Les Gets Ski Competition)

Office de Tourisme des Gets

18 hole Golf course, open June until October

Important Annual Events and Festivals:

International wood cutting competition (Les Cognées), this has to been seen to be believed. Beginning of June

Pass’Portes du Soleil, last weekend of June

Les Gets 4×4 Trials first weekend of August×4-210605-En/

Rallye du Mont Blanc, last weekend of August / beginning of September

Summer 2023

16th July 2023 – Start of the 15th stage of the Tour de France

7th to 17th of September 2023 – UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Weekly Market

Every Thursday between 8 and 12 at the Place du Marché

Below are some recent phone snaps of Les Gets ↓

Powder day behind Mont Chery
The Chavannes pistes in Les Gets
Les Gets village taken from Chavannes
Autumn in Les Gets

Alpine Property Market Report June 2023

The pandemic has clearly caused an unprecedented surge in demand for second homes in many parts of the world. At Alpine Property, we have seen this influx of buyers manifest itself in the primary home market as well, as people seek to leave the suburbs and move to the mountains to take advantage of remote working opportunities. We have also observed a gradual deflation of this market, however, raising the question of whether the bubble has burst, or just decreased slightly. Nevertheless, the market is still strong and the demand for holiday homes remains high.

The French property market has been booming for two years, making it increasingly difficult to find a new home that meets any size of budget. This has been a factor in the recent slowdown of the market. Moreover, heightened interest rates set by the government have led to a lack of profitability for banks offering mortgages, making them difficult and often impossible for individuals to acquire. This was especially true during the Winter of 2022-2023, when mortgages were virtually unavailable.

As of mid-June, there are signs of the mortgage situation beginning to improve in France. However, it remains a bumpy road, especially in the UK where the interest rate hikes are making it difficult for buyers to secure financing for their UK homes. The biggest problem remains the lack of properties coming onto the market. Cash buyers, who are unaffected by the mortgage situation, are facing stiff competition for each new listing and our advice is to make an offer at the asking price to secure the property they are interested in. Thankfully, the trend of price inflation appears to have subsided, this means the properties that are significantly overpriced will be slow to sell.

It is often a question that our agents are asked – what is the internet access like in the area? For those looking to change their pace of life and seek out a better work-life balance, this question is incredibly important. Opting to work from home has become increasingly common, and access to reliable internet is key for many professions. Luckily, our villages are in the process of being connected to fibre, and for those that are still waiting we have Starlink, Elon Musk’s revolutionary satellite internet service. More and more we are using our bikes for transport, not just for pleasure. It would be beneficial to have improved cycle infrastructure to make the everyday tasks of daily life easier to do without a car – something that Alpine Property strongly advocates for!

We are not new-build specialists here at Alpine Property; we do have some new-build properties for sale on our website, but we generally concentrate on resale properties, renovation projects, etc. As everyone can see, there have been a lot of new apartment developments built in our villages in recent years, and they’ll continue to pop up all across our valley in the coming years. This was mainly down to central government encouraging more house building. Quite often we hear people blaming the local councils, the town halls, the mayors for this change, which is often perceived as the overdevelopment of our authentic mountain villages. It’s important to understand however, that there’s not a lot that our elected officials can do about this situation. In the last year we’ve seen the local planning rules tighten, so there should be fewer building sites in the coming years.

Despite all of these considerations – supply, demand, interest rates, internet speeds – the general situation in the local property market remains the same. People of many different nationalities still want to spend more time than the average holiday affords them in the mountains and when they play the long game, they usually win. Recently I’ve started to notice a few other considerations for buyers however; let’s talk about the weather. To the joy of many, we have four distinct seasons in the alps, punctuating our progress through the year, yet winter is still the main attraction. Earlier this year it looked like the ski season might have been an issue, with record festive season temperatures across Europe resulting in a shortage of snow. It was OK in the end. I’d noticed that in last few years, the season seemed to finish slightly earlier than usual. Not this year however; in the end the skiing higher up carried on until the final days of winter.

Rather than focus on snow depths however, I’d suggest future mountain property owners consider a year-round view on how they’ll use their home. We have three massive cycling events taking place in our region this summer; the Etape du Tour and Le Tour de France in July, both of which will bring in tens of thousands of road cyclists with images beamed across the world. UCI Mountain Bike World Series Festival takes place across Morzine, Les Gets and Chatel at the beginning of September, which will attract as many fat-tyre enthusiasts. It’s my view that these global events will continue to promote our region to future property buyers, picking up any slack that comes from a less-snowier-than-average winter season, and therefore not seeing an end to demand for property in the Alps for years to come.

Alpine Property Market Report December 2022

Ever since Covid the state of the market in the Alps has felt like a high speed train. This last summer has been no different. As before it really has been a sellers’ market. It has become the norm to have agreed sales within days of a new property being listed. 20 or 30 people inquiring about the same thing in the hours after a property goes online. The same buying pressures have existed since we started to come out of Covid in the summer of 2020. This is the same for both French and UK based buyers. Our customers are looking for a place to escape to, they are looking to protect their savings from inflation, and for some they are moving their money from sterling into the Eurozone. These pressures come up against an historically low number of properties for sale. The recipe is always the same, an increase in prices.

Our latest properties for sale on YouTube

Before I go on, I’d just like to make a point. Many people assume that a healthy property market is one in which prices increase, and this is something that will make an estate agent happy. That’s not necessarily the case. Ideally there would be an even balance between buyers and sellers, and a good range of properties available for sale. Price increases would track inflation, sellers could sell in a timely manner (in around 3 months) and buyers would not feel under pressure to make a decision. Unfortunately life is rarely that simple!

Currently we have a number of competing issues that are starting to slow the market down. But maybe not as much as we first feared.

The first is mortgages. Mortgages are obviously a key component of any property market. In France, there are regulations that govern mortgage lending. The government sets a maximum rate that the banks can charge for a mortgage (taux de l’usure), the banks need to be able to borrow money on the financial markets for less than this, otherwise they are left with no margin to make a profit. That is currently hard to do. The consequence of this is that French mortgages available for French residents are hard to get and for foreign residents they have pretty much disappeared. There was a crisis point in October (that coincided with the UK government’s kamikaze budget) that scuppered a number of sales. However, there were still sufficient buyers looking who didn’t need mortgages, so we were able to rescue most of these deals. Currently the mortgage situation is not improving very quickly. Most of the brokers we speak to say we will need to wait until the new year before we can expect this situation to ease..

Another issue that is causing uncertainty is Inflation. This has both positive and negative effects on the property market. Inflation does drive people to invest in property, it’s a safer bet than keeping money as cash or as stocks and shares. The negative is that it makes us all poorer which makes people more cautious with their money and their life decisions.

I don’t like to talk about the future of the market. My predictions are about as useful as the predictions for how much snow we’ll get for the upcoming season. If the papers predict a bumper season you’d do just as well betting against them as agreeing with them. At Alpine Property we like to look at the number of new customers getting in contact on a monthly basis. Historically that has been our best bellwether for our future. Currently our new enquiries are down on 2021 and 2020, but up on all years prior to that. The post Covid years have felt very weird, so maybe we are just settling back to a new normal?

If you own a property in the Alps and wondered what it is currently worth. Head over to our property valuation page, it’s free and accurate.

And to see the latest chalets we have for sale, click on the following image.

The latest Alpine chalets we have for sale

What will the snow be like at Christmas?

That is usually how the question is phrased. Otherwise, we could pick from the following

  • Will there be snow if I go skiing at Christmas?
  • Will there definitely be lifts open at Christmas?

To stop the question appearing silly, you have to look at the context. The person asking it is thinking about committing a lot of money, time and emotional capital to booking a holiday. So when you consider the context the question does not appear quite so nuts.

The answer is “Who knows?”, it’s like asking if a property will increase in value. The only thing we can do is look at history and make an educated guess.

So will there be snow at Christmas?

I don’t know….but….generally yes. More or less, it can be hit and miss but…in the 23 Christmases I have been in the French Alps, I’d say that there has always been some skiing available on some days over the Christmas week. Usually skiing is available on every day of the week, and sometimes the skiing is excellent.

Does it matter?

For some people it does. And I’d say that if it is the most important part of your “ski” holiday then booking for later in January or February is a better bet. If that is not possible consider one of the high altitude ski areas like Avoriaz, Flaine, Val d’Isere etc. But beware, booking one of these resorts will only maximise your chances. It won’t guarantee anything!

For others it won’t matter. It’s a holiday whatever happens. There will always be winter walks, sledging, too much to eat and if it is lashing down with rain outside, board games and books. Many of the people who visit every year are content with one or two days skiing.

When do the ski areas open?

Most ski areas fix a date, often a Saturday in mid-December, so that might be one or two weekends before Christmas. And if there is sufficient snow they will open for weekends earlier on. Tignes will try and open earlier in November and it rarely fails. This year (2022) has been the warmest on record and Tignes have had to delay the opening by one week. Avoriaz is opening “early” on the weekend (3-Dec).

I have pictures from each of the last 10 years.

The following image from December 2022 ↓

2-Dec-2022 – Skiing up towards the Mossettes

This image ↓ is from mid December 2021. An excellent year to ski at Christmas.

12-Dec-2021, Val d’Abondance

December 2020 ↓

1-Dec-2020 – Skiing on the Pleney above Morzine

December 2019 ↓

10-Dec-2019 – Les Lindarets a few days before the lifts open

Mid December 2018 ↓ and then the 30th December ↓↓ 2 weeks made quite a difference. There was skiing at Christmas but it was quite hard and icy.

11-Dec-2018 At the summit of Mt Chery in Les Gets
30-Dec-2018 – St Jean d’Aulps, winter walks were better than the skiing.

Early December 2017 ↓

2-Dec-2017 – Cross Country skiing at Praz des Lys / Sommand

18th December 2016 ↓ There was skiing at Christmas, but it was for the committed.

18-Dec-2016 – World Cup Cross Country Skiing at La Clusaz

19th December 2015 ↓ There was skiing at Christmas, but it was like 2016.

19-Dec-2015 – 1440m on the Plateau des Glières near Annecy

26th December 2014 ↓ This is looking down on Les Gets, there was skiing above Chavannes, but for anything more you’d need to drive for 30 min to one of the access points for Avoriaz.

26-Dec-2014 – Les Gets, skiing at Chavannes and above.

29th December 2013 ↓ Plenty of snow. This picture is taken not far from Morzine – technically in Samoëns.

29-Dec-2013 – Chardonnière – Samoëns

6th December 2012 ↓ and ↓↓ Plenty of snow this year.

6-Dec-2012 – Driving to Chavannes from Les Gets

A day to avoid the roads !

5-Dec-2012 – Chasse-neige on the Les Gets road
GRIDSERVE Electric Super Hub at Moto Rugby, 11 super-chargers

Driving an electric car to the Alps

Tesla drivers probably don’t need to read on. They have had a good charging infrastructure for years now, so driving to and from the Alps is no issue at all.

Travel to and from the Alps has changed somewhat since COVID. Now people are looking for “greener”, cheaper and perhaps healthier ways to travel. I’ve had a small EV for 6 years. It was a great second car and worked well for us where we live in the French Alps. I’ve been surprised at how quickly electric cars have developed in that time and recently upgraded to a much bigger EV. Now our electric car is the main car in the household. We don’t drive to and from the UK very often. The last time was well over 10 years ago. However we recently could not avoid it so I thought I’d write about how it went.

GRIDSERVE Electric Super Hub at Moto Rugby, 11 super-chargers
GRIDSERVE Electric Super Hub at Moto Rugby, 11 super-chargers

Before I go on. I’d like to acknowledge the fact that no travel is “green”, there are only more or less eco ways to go. So in order of preference:

  • Don’t go!
  • Take a bike or walk
  • Travel by Train or Bus
  • Drive an EV
  • Then a fossil fuel burning car
  • A long way down the list is to fly

In brief

We made 6 stops on the way to Middlesbrough from the Alps. 9 on the way back. We never had any major issues, the only minor issues we had were in the UK. On average the charging stops lasted 20 minutes. Overall our charging experience was better in France. We spoke to a British person charging their EV at one of the motorway fast chargers and he raised this before we did, he said his experience charging in France was better than the UK. As an aside, we were less tired than in the past, stopping every 1.5 to 2 hrs really helps from that point of view.

Was it cheaper than driving an ICE vehicle?

ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). And the answer is “no”. In general owning an EV is cheaper than owning an ICE. 95% of the time I charge at home and this is 20% of the cost of using diesel. In addition, my car only needs a cheap service every 2 years. These savings quickly add up. However, when making a long journey you will use fast chargers on the motorways and they are priced the same as conventional fuels, and sometimes more! You will save money by taking the “eco” routes, or by driving slower but these options are open to you whatever vehicle you drive.

Ionity charging station, Aire de Jura
Ionity charging station, Aire de Jura

The full story

We needed to transport a couple of bikes back from the UK and some personal possessions so driving was really the only viable option. My car is now a Skoda Enyaq, it was the largest, cheapest EV available when I bought it last year. It is only a “standard range” model, so a 60kW battery, any more would be overkill for my day to day use, it does provide enough range for a very long journey, but if you are a frequent long distance driver you will find a long range model much more practical.

EV’s come with different sized batteries, the smaller they are, the cheaper and lighter the car is. If you want to try and make the minimum impact on the planet you should go for as small and light as is practical.

  • 40 kW or less is great for local journeys of less than 200km, for most people this would cover 90% of their driving
  • 50-60-70 kW should do everything, but long journey’s will require quite a few stops.
  • 80+kW is considered “long range” but can be very heavy and expensive.

We made our journey in November 2022, driving from the Alps to Middlesbrough (eventually Newcastle) and back again. We used the tunnel to cross the channel. The total distance we travelled was 3500 km. You might consider using a longer ferry crossing for that trip. Hull to Rotterdam is an option. I’m not sure how “eco” ferries are though.

Tesla charging station, Aire de Jura, a typical situation in France, Ionity was busy, Tesla was empty
Tesla charging station, Aire de Jura, a typical situation in France, Ionity was busy, Tesla was empty

As far as planning went we didn’t spend too much time on it. We used an app called “A Better Routeplanner”, which did most of what we needed from a planning point of view. It selects the places to charge automatically. It’s not the most stable app and is not as good as Google at dealing with road closures (we did get caught out by this), but if you use it alongside Google Maps for the navigation it is fine.

We decided to split the journey around Lille. It would make sense to find somewhere to stay that offers charging on site. That would save one charge. But as I said, we didn’t spend long on planning so didn’t have that option. We also had winter tires on the car which won’t have helped the efficiency.

Alps to the UK

1400 km and 6 stops altogether. We only stopped twice between Morzine and Lille. The weather was warm for this leg. 15-20C. 2 stops is quite hard to do and you’d need perfect conditions. We only had 2 in the car, no bikes, we didn’t need any air-conditioning and we drove quite slowly (110km/h). We cut the corner to cross the Jura too. The motorway route via Bourg en Bresse is an hour faster but will mean another charge stop and will cost more on the autoroute (22 €). Don’t discount this shortcut. The route is beautiful and there is a great spot to stop for cheese at the “Fruitière du Pays Grandvallier” close to Morbier.

Typical quiet Tesla superchargers near Saint Quentin
Typical quiet Tesla superchargers near Saint Quentin

We used a fast charger at a Lidl in Lille the next morning and then again at the check-in for the tunnel. In the UK we had to make two more stops before we got to our destination near Middlesbrough. In all, the mpg came out at about 17Wh/100km (3.6 mi/kWh) and the charging added a couple of hours to the journey.

Charging at our destination was done at a fast charger at McDonalds 5 min from where we were staying. We made various excursions in the area. Always using fast chargers.

Keep an eye out from the "eco" route suggestions in Google
Keep an eye out from the “eco” route suggestions in Google

UK back to the Alps

For the journey back the weather had cooled significantly. So we started out with a frost and maximum temperatures hovered around 10C. This makes a big difference to the energy consumption, because not only do you need to heat the cabin but for optimal performance the car will heat the battery too. We had more luggage and a couple of bikes on a tow bar rack (I had not realised before this trip, but at motorway speeds this reduces range by 10 to 15%). We also drove a bit quicker. More like 120km/h and up to 130 km/h (81mph), 120 km/h is the optimal speed in most EV’s when you take into account the charging times. It’s not the optimal speed for saving money, that’s probably about 30 km/h! So, if you really want to cut down on charging stops then drive with the lorries at 90 km/h. It’s pretty boring though!

The Angle of the North near Newcastle
The Angel of the North near Newcastle

The efficiency on the way home was 30% worse at 24 kWh/100km (2.6 mi/kWh). We stopped 9 times. We had to drop our 2 girls at Luton airport on the way, and of course Murphy’s law dictated that the biggest issue we were to have on the entire trip was the charge station just before Luton airport at the services in Rugby. It was a typical issue that thankfully is getting less frequent. The charging machines didn’t recognise any of my 3 membership cards or either of my two debit cards. After 15 minutes and 3 different machines I finally managed to make it work with a credit card. It was a busy spot with 10 charging points and about half the people there were having similar issues. It was stressful and not acceptable. I’ve experienced it many times in the last 7 years but am thankful that it now seems to be getting rarer.

We had another issue at a McDonalds on the side of the M25, we plugged in and went for a coffee, when we got back we discovered the charge had given up after a minute. So we had to wait another 20 min to get the charge we needed. It was a newbie mistake. Always check the car is charging on your app when drinking coffee. I was too relaxed and had left my phone in the car!

Only selected Tesla charging stations are available to all, these are at the Channel Tunnel check-in
Only selected Tesla charging stations are available to all, these are at the Channel Tunnel check-in

Charging your EV in the ski resort

If you are making the journey from the UK to the Alps, you’ll want to know what the charging is like when you arrive. Many of the chalets and hotels have started to fit charge points in the last few years, that will be your first port of call. Beyond that, almost every French town in the Haute Savoie has at least 2 reliable and fairly cheap 22 kW charge points (so not fast chargers). Beyond that many more are being added as I write this. The local paper recently mentioned 20 new points in Chamonix.

Personally I carry the following cards

  • Eborn – This is the “local” one in the French Alps – in fact it covers the whole Rhone Alps. Travellers to the region probably don’t need this, the following cards should cover it.
  • ChargeMap – I think this is the most popular in France, their interactive map has lots of good information and comments about individual chargers.
  • PowerPass – This came with the car, it’s connected to Ionity which is the biggest fast charge network in France.
  • Plugshare – This is one of the biggest pan european cards.
EV charging in the Alps
Bring your charging cable for destination charging in the French Alps

My other EV blogs

An electric car in winter

An electric car in the snow

Electric vehicles and solar panels; they aren’t really that green anyway?